ASA upholds two complaints about All Care leaflets

The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld two complaints against a flyer circulated about roles at domiciliary care service All Care.

The complainant in the case challenged claims made in the leaflet, which contained the text “paid DBS checks … guaranteed hours” and “Rates of pay £8.30 per hour Monday through Friday”, were misleading and could not be substantiated.

The ASA investigated three issues – two of which were upheld while one was not.

With regard to the first complaint, the ASA said it considered that, in the absence of information to indicate otherwise, consumers would interpret the claim “paid DBS checks” to mean that in all circumstances All Care would have paid for the check. But the ASA understood that if an employee left within the first year of their employment they would need to repay the company the cost of the check, meaning it did not ultimately pay for the checks for employees who left within the first year. The ASA also noted All Care’s offer to include the claim “terms and conditions apply”, but it considered this was insufficient to make clear the company paid for the checks only for employees who stayed with the company for longer than a year. As the ad suggested that the company would always pay for employees' checks, when it ultimately paid for only employees who stayed longer than a year, the ASA concluded that this claim was misleading.

On the second complaint, the ASA said it considered consumers would interpret the claim “guaranteed hours” to mean that all All Care employees were offered paid work for an agreed number of hours, noting it offered guaranteed-hours contracts which usually ranged from five to 40 hours per week on a permanent, live-in or fixed-term basis to all members of staff. The ASA also noted that in addition to guaranteed-hours contracts, All Care offered zero-hours contracts, where employees had an employment contract with the company but had no guaranteed working hours in any given period. The ASA considered that, although some employees chose to be on zero-hours contracts, because All Care offered all employees the opportunity to have a fixed-hours contract, this claim was not misleading.

On the third complaint, the ASA said consumers would understand the claim “Rates of pay £8.30 per hour Monday through Friday” to mean that they would be paid £8.30 for all the hours that they worked and that it included the time they spent, if any, travelling between clients during their working hours. The ASA understood that carers were only paid for the hours they spent delivering care and were not paid for travel time between clients. The ASA ruled that the ad did not make clear that the hourly rate of pay did not apply to travel between clients, and so concluded that the quoted earnings in the ad were not precise, meaning this claim was misleading.

Consequently, the ASA ruled that the ad must not appear again in its current format and told All Care to ensure that in the future its ads contained all material information, specifically that the DBS cost would be reclaimed if the employee stayed for less than one year and that the hourly rate of pay did not apply to travel between clients.

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